The field at Stagecoach Park is open for business — or more accurately, open for play.
In less than three months, the field got a makeover, going from hard dirt to beautiful artificial turf thanks to the efforts of many, including the Evergreen Park & Recreation District and the nonprofit Teddy Wetzel Memorial Field Project.
The field is so ready for play that after the short dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting on Nov. 23, Mountain Lacrosse fourth- and fifth-grade team took to the field to play its first game.
Coach Mike Bergner called the turf field a game changer.
“Our season starts in March,” he said, “and because of the wet weather, we fight for indoor practice space. When there’s snow on the field, we can shovel it and still practice.”
More than 150 people — EPRD officials, Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce representatives, former and current lacrosse players, members of the Scot and Charlotte Wetzel family and more — toasted Evergreen’s latest community asset.
“This is a field for generations to enjoy,” Evergreen chamber President Nancy Judge said. “As a community, we are lucky to have a family who is so loving and giving and who quickly thought of how to make Evergreen better for others.”
Judge referred to the Wetzel family, who lost their son Robert Edward “Teddy” Wetzel more than four years ago. The family’s nonprofit, the Teddy Wetzel Memorial Field Project, paid to have the artificial turf installed. The Daniels Fund and the El Pomar Foundation were the major donors.
EPRD board member Peter Lindquist, whose sons played lacrosse on the Stagecoach Park field when it was primarily a dirt field, said EPRD bought the park property in 2007.
“This field has always been heavily used,” he told the crowd, “first for soccer and then for lacrosse. We wouldn’t be standing here (on the new turf field) without the Wetzel family.”
He lauded the many organizations that had a hand in make the field a reality, telling the crowd, “We hope you enjoy standing on Teddy’s Field.”
Heart Cameron, EPRD’s park operation manager, has said that the turf field would provide more accessibility for everyone. He hoped that adding a second artificial-turf field to complement the Marshdale Fields in the rec district would give teams more practice opportunities.
Lindquist said the field would no longer turn to mud after a major snowstorm or downpour, and the holes sprinkled throughout the field are now gone.
“This field will get so much use,” he said.
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